Foregoing elective neck dissection for elderly patients with oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma

Nir Tsur*, Eyal Yosefof, Dean Dudkiewicz, Nofar Edri, Sagit Stern, Thomas Shpitzer, Aviram Mizrachi, Esmat Najjar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Elective neck dissection (END) improves outcomes among clinically node-negative patients with oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OCSCC). However, END is of questionable value, considering the potentially higher comorbidities and operative risks in elderly patients. Methods: A retrospective review of all patients older than 65 years of age who were treated for OCSCC at a tertiary care centre between 2005 and 2020 was conducted. Results: Fifty-three patients underwent primary tumour resection alone, and 71 had simultaneous END. Most primary tumours were located on the mobile tongue. The patients who did not undergo END had a higher mean age (81.2 vs. 75.1 years, P < 0.00001), significantly shorter surgeries, and shorter hospitalizations. Occult cervical metastases were found in 24% of the patients who underwent END. The two groups showed no significant differences in overall survival or recurrence rates. Similar results were shown in a subpopulation analysis of patients older than 75 years. Conclusion: Foregoing END in elderly patients with no clinical evidence of neck metastases did not result in lower survival rates or higher recurrence rates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • aged
  • carcinoma
  • elective neck dissection
  • humans
  • mouth neoplasms
  • old age
  • retrospective
  • squamous cell
  • squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck
  • survival rate


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